November 21 2019

Call for applications: Jovette-Marchessault Award for Women Theatre Artists

Image : Odetka Tuduri | Photos : Télé-Québec

Deadline: January 16, 2020
Artistic discipline: Theatre

We are pleased to announce that the call for nominations for the Jovette-Marchessault Award opens today. The Award is intended to increase the recognition and visibility of women artists’ contribution to Montreal’s theatre scene. The award includes a cash prize of $20,000, bestowed upon the winner by the Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM). The call for nominations ends on January 16, 2020.

This year, the call is for women directors, while in 2020-21 it will be for women designers and in 2021-22 for women playwrights (original works and adaptations).

All professional women theatre artists are eligible, regardless of their years’ of experience, provided they have been recognized by their peers and are Canadian citizens or permanent residents living on the Island of Montreal at the time of submission.

The 2019-20 laureate will be announced the week of May 18, 2020, during the two days dedicated to ESPACE GO’s first edition of Sentinelles, a follow-up to the Feminist Project held last spring.

To find out more



Self-taught painter, sculptor, novelist and playwright Jovette Marchessault was born in a working-class Montréal neighbourhood in 1938. In her teen years, she worked in a textile factory, where she encountered women factory workers from various backgrounds speaking a panoply of languages.

In the late 1950s, Jovette Marchessault went on a long “initiatory” journey across the Americas on a quest for her identity and spiritual roots. Accepting her artistic vocation, she exhibited frescoes, masks and telluric figures at Montréal’s Maison des arts La Sauvegarde in 1970.

Her spontaneous approach featured the spirits of nature, made manifest in sculptures inspired by the animal world and traces of a new mythology. Soon, her paintings, sculptures and frescoes were showing throughout Québec as well as in Toronto, New York, Paris and Brussels.

At the same time, Jovette Marchessault was penning novels. Published in 1975, Le crachat solaire, the first part of her book trilogy Comme une enfant de la terre, would earn her the Prix France-Québec the following year. These novels draw their poetic power from their author’s cultural and spiritual roots.

Jovette Marchessault also generated a number of plays, including LA SAGA DES POULES MOUILLÉE; LES FAISEUSES D'ANGES; LA TERRE EST TROP COURTE, VIOLETTE LEDUC; ANAÏS, DANS LA QUEUE DE LA COMÈTE and LE VOYAGE MAGNIFIQUE D’EMILY CARR, which garnered her the Governor General’s Award for Drama in 1990. Like its author, these works are imbued with a feminist consciousness and the desire to bring women’s culture to life. By recreating imagined spaces, Marchessault attempts to rewrite History, to construct a collective memory that makes it possible for women to find their own models.

Her plays put the spotlight on great women artists, such as Gertrude Stein, Germaine Guèvremont, Anne Hébert, Natalie Clifford Barney, Renée Vivien, Anaïs Nin, Emily Carr and Violette Leduc.

In addition to her creative career, Jovette Marchessault was a lecturer at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM). She contributed to the newspaper Le Devoir, magazines La Vie en rose and Châtelaine, and journal La Nouvelle Barre du jour.


To learn more about Jovette Marchessault